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Back to the bizness at hand

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johnhattan

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Okay, gamedev's back in the land of the living. GDC is coming up. I'll be doing expo coverage as always.

I just settled on what will be daily puzzle number ten. It's a bit like Shi Sen, although it'll probably be a bit quicker to play. Shi Sen's the most popular game in the lineup right now (judging by the number of hits), so I'm hoping it'll also do well.

I replaced the main menu on The Code Zone's site with a similar-looking one written in DHTML (read: javascript). This will give me the ability to make larger menus, as they pull down rather than sideways, which was a problem for the Flash menus, which must be rectangular.

Only problem is that javascript draws lower on the Z-order than Flash, so the menus were pulling down under the games. Doing a little research, it appeared that the solution was easy, just set the "WMODE=opaque" parameter to your embedded Flash thingy, and it'll draw itself directly on the browser's surface and javascript can draw on top of it.

Simple, right?

WRONG!!

Problem with that is that the Flash windows no longer activate and take focus and keyboard-events like normal windows do (even hidden windows like the ones that plugins occupy). So when you do an opaque Flash applet, your keyboard events either never register at all (Firefox) or they're sent to both the applet AND the browser (IE). So the upshot was, in Firefox it was impossible to move the bulldozer with the arrow keys. In IE, you could move the bulldozer, but if you pressed the down-arrow to move it down, the browser would also scroll.

(Note that this doesn't seem to be a problem with the daily puzzles, mainly because they're almost entirely mouse-driven. They only keyboard-stuff on daily puzzles are the login screens, the text-entry for logins still works because only the key-up events are killed, not key-downs).

Anyway, I decided to go with the dirty-trick solution. I made the Bulldozer/Ducktiles splash-screens into separate applets and put 'em above the applet (1, 2). That way I can leave the games as-is, as only the splash-screens don't get key-events.

So it's actually a fairly big change even though it doesn't look much different. If you see anything screwy, lemme know.



Next, I made several small fixes to the daily puzzles. I added some new awards. Also, I put in a small delay before the "game over" panel pops up, as I didn't really like the panel popping up without giving you a moment to admire your handiwork.

Yeah, I'm proud of the little critters. I still need to get more players, though, as they're not yet making enough in ad-revenue to cover their hosting. So if you have some pals who need to get turned on to playing, send 'em over. I'll probably make some kind of "got a new player to sign up" award if you do :)
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If you are looking for more players, Jay is Games can bring them in by the droves. The problem is that the tidal wave of new people that ensue tend to overwhelm servers. I have written a couple of reviews a while back, a would consider writing a review about bafflebees and shi sen if there was one change.

You need an option to play as a guest. Save the rewards for registered users; you could even have a tease showing the guest what they would have won. The guest players will sign up if they enjoy playing. I understand the problem that players will have unlimited chances to play a game if possible. You can combat this by having a separate set of puzzles for the guest that change less often. Just make sure that you let it be known that there are daily puzzles for registered users.

Edit: And I will make sure to get the game names right. ;)

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